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Why choosing an apprenticeship could be the right move for your career

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Some people thrive during exams. Others thrive while learning on the job. One way is not better than the other. They both provide their own experiences and can help towards building successful careers.

With National Apprenticeship Week 2021 taking place this week (8 to 14 February), we wanted to give our readers an idea of what it's like to join Companies House as an apprentice, learning on the job as opposed to taking the further education route.

In this blog post we hear from one of our previous apprentices, Ethan, to find out about his journey from apprentice to recently promoted Creative Designer.

Where it started

I considered myself a fairly average teenager. I did well in comprehensive school and loved going out with my mates down the skate park in Barry, socialising and just doing all the normal teenage stuff you’d expect.

But when it came to taking the leap from school to college, I found myself struggling to keep up, which kept me wondering ‘Why am I doing this?’

I regularly found myself sat in coffee shops studying subjects all day long that, if I'm completely honest, I had no interest in at all.

Like many, Ethan also found the pressure and stress of exam situations difficult to deal with.

Exams can be very stressful. I do not like pressurised situations in general but a pressurised situation when I do not have a clue what to do, is my idea of a living nightmare.

It was this moment that Ethan decided to go down a non-exam route and apply for an apprenticeship with Companies House.

Joining the Companies House family

My first reactions of the real working world were that everyone was so nice and friendly. I rocked up in a full suit expecting a horrible boss, lots of paperwork and sore tea-making hands but that could not be any further from the truth!

I was assigned a buddy to help me settle in and get to grips with the culture and before I knew it, I felt like I’d been there for years.

I was constantly told that my ‘new school’ ideas and ways of doing things were of great value to the team. This really boosted my confidence and motivated me to make a positive impact on Companies House and the communications team where I worked.

The apprenticeship

I was lucky enough to start my apprenticeship in 2016 when the communications department had an events team. I travelled around the UK helping with large conference events and talking to customers about the possibilities behind Companies House’s services.

It was during this point that Ethan was able to complete his level 3 Social Media NVQ.

I was given the opportunity to move around the communications team, not only to gain experience in different areas but also to decide for myself what areas I was really passionate about.

I cannot stress how important this was. Coming from a place where I did not know what I wanted to do in college, to having a trial run in each role within a big team made me realise the area I wanted to specialise in – and that was graphic design.

Advice for future apprentices

Having been at Companies House for nearly 4 years, Ethan’s got plenty of advice and encouragement to give to others who are thinking of going down the apprenticeship route.

I was never into art or anything remotely creative at school but then again, I never actually sat down and tried. The breadth of design is huge, and I think that’s why I love it so much. I learn new things every day and thanks to the team that I’m in, I’ve altered the way I think and approach design and everyday tasks.

I even sit down at my laptop with a beer on the weekends and see what I can create. I feel super blessed to make a living off a hobby of mine and I owe that to Companies House and the team I work with.

So, in short, I recommend taking up an apprenticeship with Companies House or anywhere else for that matter, as you may not know what your passion is until you try. I’ve been working at Companies House for 4 years now (3 years as a designer) and I’ve recently been promoted.

I’m at the career level I want to be now, and I’m very thankful for anyone that’s put up with me along the way.

And at heart, I'm still that teenager who loves to get out on my skates!

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